“Watch what comes next: I’ll bring my people back from the north country and gather them up from the ends of the earth …” Jeremiah 31:8
The last time our children and their families gathered for Christmas was in 2009. After two weeks, they headed for home. Each took a piece of my heart and soul with them. In the quiet days that followed, I felt depressed and alone. The Spirit of Christmas waned.
The following Sunday I went alone to the praise service at church which I rarely attend. I sat in the back pew, head bowed, not in prayer, but in hopes no one would see me dabbing at tears.
Then the praise choir broke out in an upbeat version of “This little light of mine,” which jarred me out of my self-pity pose. I saw one of my Bible study friends smiling and swaying while joyfully singing with the band. Soon I found myself swaying too.
Minutes later another Bible study friend rose to read the lesson for the day. Oh, Carolyn is here today—so good to see her, I thought. Listening to her soft voice gave me comfort.
We moved on to the communion service, and there she was—Debbie, another member of our study group, who lifted the chalice of wine toward me and said, “Linda, this is the body of Christ, shed for you.” Those words and the taste of wine warmed my heart. For the first time in days, I felt the Spirit of Christmas returning.
Dear God, thank you for my church family, which will always be there to keep me from feeling alone. Amen.